International Break Power Rankings

International Break Power Rankings

Sup haters. The latest installment of my coveted Power Rankings is back and better than ever. But first let’s get an update on my record and a recap of the Can I Kick It Cup…

This Weekend’s Record: 7-3-1
All-Time Record: 98-90-17

The first Can I Kick It Cup occurred over the weekend, with MY Manchester City beating Kulla’s Arsenal by a score of 3-1. The game was always City’s to win, but they didn’t dominate like the scoreline indicated. Without the final goal, which should’ve been disallowed due to David Silva being offside, the game could’ve and most likely would’ve ended in a frantic finish. But City dominated possession with close to 60% and outshot the Gunners 9-6 (reverse nice). I have no clue why Arsene Wenger chooses not to put Lacazette in the starting XI, as he scored just minutes after coming on. But what’s new with Wenger! Hey Kulla, not to say I told you so but… I told you so.

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Power Rankings:

You know the drill… best teams record-wise combined with the teams I think are best regardless of record to formulate the top 10 teams in the world. Top 5 teams earn the best prize of all… a gif.

In The Hunt: Atletico, Roma, Valencia, Monaco

10. Manchester United (Last Week 8)

A loss and a totally unconvincing match away at Chelsea should have me putting this team out of these rankings, but they have too much talent and still sit in 2nd in the Premier League. Mourinho is W0-D3-L4 away against the top 6 in the Premier League, but United still sit perfect in the Champions League and own a 7-2-2 record in the league. With Pogba and other key starters returning, I’m not counting them out for now.

9. Juventus (Last Week 9)

Juventus have no change this week because they neither impressed nor lost this weekend. They went down 1-0 to the worst team in the league this season who haven’t won a game yet, but came back to win 2-1. With Inter Milan drawing over the weekend, they now sit in 2nd in Serie A with a 10-1-1 record and sit 3 points back behind Barca in Group D in the Champions League. Those two giants meet on the 22nd to decide if Juventus can move more in the clear towards qualification, or if Barca can lock up the group officially. More importantly they could rise or fall a few spots on this list depending on the result.

8. Chelsea (Last Week 10)

Chelsea rise two spots this week after their triumphant 1-0 win against Manchester United. Their ascendance comes with its issues though; as manager Antonio Conte sat star defender David Luiz after a feud in training, the owner wants to be more involved in day-to-day oversight and their longtime Technical Director (essentially the director of player personnel or GM) resigned. Their victory comes with blemishes, but if Conte can pull this squad through their Champions League group, limit the injuries and stay in the top 4 in the league at the worst, then their problems will be forgotten about. A clash with Liverpool could be their only blemish for the rest of the month, but if they triumph then they will earn the right to stay in these rankings.

7. Napoli (Last Week 5)

Napoli faltered twice over the last week, losing to Man City at home and drawing at Chievo Verona (who sit in 11th). I hate using the City loss against them, but they got totally outclassed and especially at home, you will drop in the rankings. They play both Milan and Juventus and sandwiched in the middle is a Champions League clash. Those games will be major not only in the rankings and the standings in both the league and Champions League, but could shape their season. They can’t afford to drop points in the league with the 4 teams behind them only being separated by a total of 5 points, and they find themselves in a must-win-out situation in the Champions League.

6. Real Madrid (Last Week 6)

Plain and simple: Real Madrid haven’t looked like themselves this season. Two consecutive losses last week left them in a bad spot, and left many people wondering what was wrong with them. Even though they beat a crappy side in Las Palmas this weekend, they showed once again what they can do and who they have on their team. Their depth is disgusting and once they hit stride they will be just fine. A clash with cross-Madrid rivals Atletico after the International Break will truly prove whether or not Real is back, or if they still are in search of their identity this season.

5. Bayern Munich (Last Week 7)

giphy7Bayern had a triumphant away win against rivals Dortmund to remind them who’s boss in Germany this past Saturday (Dortmund falling by the wayside btw). They sit atop the Bundesliga and only trail in the Champions League to PSG, with room beneath them in the group. Yes, maybe they should be higher with 2 wins to Leipzig and 1 to Dortmund this month, but Leipzig got a red card in each game and Dortmund don’t look right. They have a tough away match at Mönchengladbach and a clash with PSG in early December, which will say a lot as to where this team is.

4. Tottenham (Last Week 4)

giphy8Spurs have no change this week from last week in the rankings, as they had another home win to Palace. We learned what this team can do last week with a historic win against giants Real Madrid snapping their streak without losses in the group stage in the Champions League. They’re somehow turning the word ‘Spursy’ into a good thing! But Spurs face two massive challenges, one much bigger than the other. The biggest match of their season so far (yes even bigger than Madrid) looms ahead of them. Their bitter (like really bitter, just ask Kulla) rivals Arsenal will host Spurs in the North London Derby which will prove if this team can win in a massive game away this season. Then only a few days after that, they will face a desperate Dortmund team in need of 3 points to keep their little heads above water in the Champions League. Again, time will tell for this team.

3. FC Barcelona (Last Week 3)

giphy9Barca come into this week on fire, with Messi playing out of this world. Messi didn’t score or have an assist this week, but still has played every minute in all competitions, scored 15 goals in 15 games with 4 assists, and has still hit the post 15 times. This team sits atop La Liga in Spain with a 10-1-0 record and atop their Champions League group with a 3-1-0 record. They are one of only 3 teams in Europe’s power 5 leagues to yet to lose a game, and they don’t look like they will slow down any time soon. They have big matches ahead of them including a massive Champions League match against Juventus and a tough away match against Valencia who are in a clear 2nd place behind them in the league. I’m excited to see how this team can keep it up, and if Messi can continue his form.

2. Manchester City (Last Week 2)

giphy10If it wasn’t for a 5-0 win by PSG over the weekend, City would be in my top spot on this list. They beat Arsenal 3-1 in a big statement win to show that they don’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon. They become the first English team to win their first 15 matches across all competitions, and are one of the only 3 teams without a loss. Aguero, who just became the club’s all time leading scorer at only 29 years-old, looks to be in great form along with the rest of the attack (De Bruyne, Silva, Sane, Sterling, Jesus). They just don’t seem like they can be stopped, especially already being 8 points clear of rivals United in the Premier League. The title race could be over in early spring.

1. Paris Saint Germain (Last Week 1)

giphy11PSG won dominantly 5-0 WITHOUT Neymar over the weekend, again showing people how amazing their attack is. Mbappe had an outstanding outing with 2 goals and 1 assists along with 2 more goals from Cavani. I know they haven’t played anyone besides Bayern, but this team I believe can beat anyone in the world at this moment. The beauty of the Champions League is that we will find out once they play Bayern again and escape the group stage as well as starting playing tougher competition. But they better be careful, as a bad showing against Monaco in a few weeks and Bayern in December could have this team dropping a few spots with City nipping at their heels. Should be amazing to see going forward!

 

That’s all from my Power Rankings this week as we head into the International Break. I also did a Footy News Roundup (HERE) outlining the recent news in the footy world. Some awesome final Qualifying Playoff matches before we finally decide the field of 32 to the ‘that tournament that’s supposedly/allegedly happening in Russia next summer’. Teams like Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Croatia, Switzerland, Australia and Honduras will all have their fates decided over the next 15 days to see who will make it.

Remember folks, soccer literally doesn’t stop…

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace
Twitter: @nicodegallo

 

Footy News Roundup

Footy News Roundup

This is something new I’m going to be doing whenever there’s a string of consistent news coming in the footy world (which there almost always is), and if I have the time. Mostly the second one will prevent me writing these, but if you’re not into all the news that happens across the pond (or here on U.S. soil) then this is your one-stop shop.

So let’s get right into it…

USMNT’s Youthful Roster Selection for Friendly v Portugal

FINALLY. With the United States not in that tournament that’s supposedly/allegedly happening in Russia next summer, they now have a chance to pull in the best group of young talent into the roster selection without the obligation of including veterans. Why is this good you say? Because instead of only pulling in some of the youngsters for that tournament that’s supposedly/allegedly happening in Russia next summer, they can now go all out with bringing in the new guard of American soccer. This includes nine players (NINE!!) under the age of 22 years. The list of youngsters (to which you should start to know their names) includes; Weston McKennie (19, starter for German club Schalke Fc), Tyler Adams (18, best young talent at New York Red Bulls), Cristian Roldan (22, Seattle Sounders star player), Kellyn Acosta (22, starter and star player for FC Dallas w/ USMNT experience), Ethan Horvath (22, Goalie for Belgian team Club Brugge), Emerson Hyndmann (21, on Premier League team Bournemouth), Cameron Cater-Vickers (19, on Premier League team Tottenham), Matt Miazga (22, on Premier League team Chelsea), and Josh Sargaent (17, joining German team Werder Bremen in January). Folks that’s 3 Premier League teams, 2 Bundesliga teams and 1 Belgian team (ALL 22 AND UNDER) and this list of course doesn’t include Christian Pulisic, who is getting a rest/vacation. The future looks bright for the U S of A.

Conte Out?!

Antonio Conte, the manager for reigning champs Chelsea, seems to somehow find himself on the hot seat even after a 1-0 triumph against Manchester United. Conte left star defender David Luiz out of the squad after a supposed scuffle at practice. Conte denied the ‘rumors’ of course, citing a tactical decision, but there are confirmed reports of a training dust-up between the two. The tumultuous buildup to the game on Sunday wasn’t limited to the David Luiz saga. Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s billionare owner, said he wanted more day-to-day oversight of the club. This should concern Conte, as former manager Jose Mourinho (current Man U manager) was fired by Abromovich over conflict with players only a few years ago. Added to the drama was the longtime technical director (essentially director of player personnel) Michael Emenalo’s step-down from his position. Could this be the beginning of the end for Conte? History says so, but I think they should let the season ride and see how things go; winning cures everything.

Slaven Bilic Sacked as West Ham Manager

The third firing of the season took place this past weekend, as West Ham cleaned house of Slaven Bilic after their club slipped into the relegation zone. After getting throttled by Liverpool at home this weekend 4-1, West Ham have only won 2 of their first 11 matches this season. Although Bilic led the Hammers to their best point total and goals in a season after being appointed in 2015, he has only regressed from there. Since their move from their famed ground of Upton Park at the start of last season, they have conceded 3 goals or more 10 times in a home game. That, my friends, is baaaaad. They have since appointed another boring and useless manager David Moyes, who has yet to prove himself over the last few years as a manager in the Premier League. “Time will tell”, – Bob Marley.

Is Jose Mourinho Not ‘The Chosen One” Anymore?

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United lost this weekend 1-0 at Chelsea, a result which normally wouldn’t signal the end of the world. But if you take a look at what he’s done against the top 6 clubs in his career in the Premier League, it makes you worry. He is has 0 Wins, 3 Draws, and 4 Losses in his 7 games away at the top 6 sides, with only 2 goals scored in those matches. I harped on it before on this site; the style of play he implements in these key games are not conducive to good results. Long balls, a defensive mindset and boring footy with the lineup he puts out doesn’t help you get results. If they can’t get results in big games then they will fall out of the title race, and more importantly my coveted power rankings.

 

That’s all for the news roundup, I probably missed some stuff but I really don’t care cause this Yuengling I’m drinking is delicious. I will have another Power Rankings out (HERE) this week to show you who’s so hot right now and who’s falling out.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.
Twitter: @nicodegallo

Matchweek 11

Matchweek 11

*Jim Nantz Voice*, ‘Hello friends’. We have an awesome group of games this weekend in the Premier League with only 1 game having a spread of more than 1 goal. This my friends, is rare. Let’s check in on how yer boi is doing this season in his 194 picks so far…

All-Time Record: 91-87-16 (55% win/draw rate)

Headed into the week this is what the table looks like:table mw 11

Let’s get this party started…

Saturday:

8:30 am ET
Leicester City (Pick -110) @ Stoke City

11:00 am ET
Brighton (+½) @ Swansea City
Burnley (+1) @ Southampton
Bournemouth @ Newcastle United (-105)
West Brom @ Huddersfield (Pick -105)

1:30 pm ET
Liverpool (-160) @ West Ham

Bayern Munich @ Borussia Dortmund

The teams in first and second place in the Bundesliga square off in one of the better rivalries in world soccer. Dortmund come into this one in some serious trouble, basically being eliminated in the Champions League and currently not in form. Luckily for them, they play in one of the best fortresses in sports, yes in sports. The Dortmund ‘Yellow Wall’ is one of the most spectacular sights in the world and it will definitely trouble a Bayern side who thinks they can take advantage of a down-trodden Dortmund side. It’s very rare for this team not to be favored in its home fortress. Pulisic will score a goal and Dortmund will take the 3 points. Dortmund (+½).

Sunday:

7:00 am ET
Crystal Palace @ Tottenham (-1½)

9:15 am ET

Arsenal @ Manchester City (CAN I KICK IT CUP)

CAN I KICK IT CUP vol. 1!!! Kulla and I will be facing off in the ultimate bragging rights match, to see who will take down the cross-blog rival. Two different teams right now; one with an identity as arguably the hottest team in the world and another still looking to find their identity. Man City are coming in off of resting some of their star players last weekend before going full-throttle in their win at Napoli this weekend, while Arsenal rested their players on Thursday in their meaningless Europa League game as they have already qualified. But here is something to take into account; City have only won 1 of their last 9 against the Gunners in all competitions, with their win coming in this exact fixture last season. Hey Kulla, get fooked brother. Man City will run all over Arsenal and will send a message to all teams in the Premier League that they will not falter this season in big matches, especially at home. Manchester City (-1). (Refer to Kulla’s preview HERE).

11:30 am ET

Manchester United @ Chelsea

ANOTHER freaking awesome game this weekend as United travel to London to take on Ellis Schaefer’s new favorite team Chelsea. This game is a Pick, which surprised me considering the home team hasn’t lost in this matchup in 4 years and Chelsea have only lost 1 of their last 15 home Premier League games to Manchester United. Added to that, Manchester United have lost more Premier League games (17) and conceded more Premier League goals (66) against Chelsea than they have against any other team. United have also only won 1 of their last 3 away matches in the league. I like Chelsea here to win, and at worst push with a tie. Chelsea (Pick -120).

Watford (+½) @ Everton

That’s all for my choices for this weekend. It’s going to be an amazing few days of games in the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga. If you want a preview of the CAN I KICK IT CUP, check out Kulla’s awesome preview here where he has a bold prediction and some great analysis setting you up for the match. Enjoy!!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.
Twitter: @nicodegallo

Can I Kick It Cup (Arsenal)

Asuh dudes! It is with great pride and honor that I can announce THE first ever Can I Kick It Cup! This idea really came about simply because Nico is obviously a huge Manchester City fan, and your boy is obviously a huge Gooner, and these two teams will be battling it out come this Sunday. So we figured why not just start a Cup every time these two play each other, and behold, here we are.

So in this blog I’ll very briefly review Arsenal’s season thus far, followed by some keys to winning the game this weekend, important players to watch for both squads, and lastly my brutally honest prediction.

 

Recap of Arsenal’s Season thus far:

So, Arsenal’s season started off horribly. I don’t need to remind you of the Liverpool blowout and the loss at Stoke. However, the numbers may deceive you. Arsenal have 19 points through 10 matches, a number that in the past has usually been lower, so I guess there’s one positive, but this isn’t good enough. The exciting and entertaining idea of a front three of Ozil-Alexis-Lacazette only came to fruition a few weeks ago, and the results have been favorable when this trio plays, as you could suspect. Looking at our team as a whole, we certainly have areas of improvement, such as the defense, and don’t want to call anyone out here but…. something has happened to my mans Bellerin, probably has something to do with the fact that I saw him out this Summer at a clurb in Miami and told him he’s my favorite player, oh well. Here’s proof that Bellerin was actually in Miami and that I’m not making this shit up.

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Overall, this season has definitely not lived up to Arsenal fan’s expectations, but again, every season I have a positive outlook for us so I honestly don’t know. I would like to believe that City will falter or maybe slow down at one point or another this season, but they really do look like the strongest side the Premier League has seen in the last few years, and Arsenal, or for that matter any team, will have an extremely difficult time catching up to them (*sigh*).

dejection.jpg
Arsenal players disgusted after their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.

 

Keys to Winning the Match:

So I’ve just told you City are basically winning the league, so how in the world are we going to stop them this weekend? There are really three ways we can do so, but in reality only two considering Wenger would never park the bus which was idea #3.

The first way is by going back to our typical 4-2-3-1 formation. I say this for a few reasons. When we deploy the newer 3-back system with the 2 wingbacks, it leads to Kolasinac and Bellerin naturally attacking the flanks, which is great most of the time, but not this time around. City are faster than us in these positions and will look to take advantage of our wingbacks if they are out of position, which will lead to furious and possibly to goal-scoring counter-attacks. With our traditional formation, Bellerin and Kolasinac can forget so much about attacking and just simply do their job as defenders, but simple and defending never go together for Arsenal of course. This formation would really be the conservative way out and would hopefully lead us to getting the draw.

The other idea would be to just go all-out for the win. In the past Arsenal have fended well for themselves when playing City, having won that thriller in the FA Cup semis last year. I feel like if we can just play our game, regardless of what happens with the defense, that we can stand a chance in this one.

 

Important Players to Watch:

Alexandre Lacazette: The French forward has already registered 5 goals through 9 starts this season. You know Alexis and Ozil will provide several scoring chances for the attacker, so the key will be to see if he can convert on them, but I expect to see a goal or two from this man.

Laurent Koscielny: I can tell you this with 100% assurance right now, Arsenal have NOT seen anyone even close to the caliber of Manchester City. If we are going to attempt to win this match, our defense is going to need to be spot-on, and that all stems from Koscielny. I want to see the aggressive, screaming, slide-tackling Koscielny I saw two seasons ago.

Sead Kolasinac: The Bosnian Tank will have a very difficult matchup against Raheem Sterling, who has been absolutely superb this season with already 10 goals to his name?! Kolasinac has arguably been our player of the season thus far with a few goals and assists to his name as well, but if we want a favorable result, Sead may have to bare a lot of the team’s weight on his shoulders.

Predicted Lineup:

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 2.33.53 PM 

Prediction:

Again, I’m writing to you all with a complete absence of bias. I think this match has the potential to get really ugly for us. This could be one of those matches that starts the #WengerOut trend, a trend that really has not been frequently talked about much this season. I think Arsenal will buckle down, come to their senses and will somehow squeeze out a draw in this match, but it’s going to be really hard for us to do that and will require 110% effort from everyone.

Final Score: City 2 – 2 Arsenal

Who’s gonna take home the first Can I Kick It Cup?! Tune in Sunday morning at 9:15 AM to find out!

Follow for a follow back: @j_kulla

Power Rankings Szn

Power Rankings Szn

Quick Update on the record:

Wednesday’s Record: 4-2-2
All-Time Record: 91-87-16

As per tradition, once Mount Rushmore Season is over we begin Power Rankings Season. The best part about power rankings is that you can literally power rank anything, and I intend to do that here with good old footy.

My formula is basically going to be comprised of the hottest teams right now combined with how good the actual team is regardless of the season they’re having. Not hard stuff and I’ll probably throw some hot takes in here and there throughout the season to spice it up a bit, who knows. I’ll post either once a week or if there’s a big shakeup and each top 5 team will get a gif.

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POWER RANKINGS

Honerable mentions: Arsenal, Dortmund, Atletico, Roma

10. Chelsea

Chelsea have been an interesting side this season because they sit in 4th in the Premier League while playing 3 of the top 6 already and about to play a 4th in United. They are 6-3-1 in the league and 2-1-1 in the Champions League where they sit in 2nd, 1 point behind Roma and 4 above Atletico. After they play Man U this weekend, we will find out what this team is made of after an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Roma on Tuesday. Chelsea face Man U, West Brom and Qarabag before playing Liverpool. Like I said, we will learn a lot about this team.

9. Juventus

The reigning Champions League… finalist haven’t played badly at all this year, as they’re 9-1-1, 3rd in Seria A and 3 points off the leaders Napoli (we’ll get to them). But they’ve yet to have played well in crucial games, with losses against Barcelona (0-3) and Lazio (1-2) and a big unconvincing tie to Sporting (1-1) this past week in the Champions League. They’re only 3 points ahead of Sporting but only 3 points behind Barcelona in the Champions League table with a big match against Barca in a few weeks.

8. Manchester United

The Red Devils have shown that they’re very much back as a possible European powerhouse this season. They sit 5 points back rivals City with a 7-2-1 record. They’ve had a big win at home to Spurs but a bad loss to Huddersfield a few weeks ago and a boring tie have shown that this team doesn’t yet have an identity. That identity problem can be very much due to the absence of Pogba, whose return make this team a top 5/7 team in no time. A very weak Champions League schedule doesn’t help them either, but a big win against Chelsea could prove how much this team can rise in the rankings.

7. Bayern Munich

In an almost mirror image to the team behind them, Bayern boast a 7-2-1 record with a huge match ahead of them (Dortmund) this weekend. Like United, they haven’t proved much yet and have had a bad loss as well as a silly tie. They have had a recent run of good results, two wins against Leipzig and an away win at Celtic (not as easy as it sounds). Their match this weekend could be a statement win and further distance rivals Dortmund out of the title race.

6. Real Madrid

What?!? Are you crazy Nico?!? Yeah, I guess so. Yes, they have been one of the teams of the century these last few years, but this team has proved NOTHING this season to make me believe they deserve to be a top 5 team. They have gone 6-2-2 in the league, a record which includes a loss to Girona (yikes) and Betis at home (double yikes). Their draws? Oh they’re also at home too. They have only gained 1 point out of two Champions League encounters with Tottenham and if it wasn’t for Dortmund failing at every turn they could’ve been in trouble in the group stage. They sit 8 points back of Barcelona in La Liga which could be a tough mountain to climb if it stays that way headed into late winter and early Spring. Ronaldo has only had 1 goal and 1 assist in 6 matches and team hasn’t clicked yet, but it’s Real Madrid and this probably won’t last long. Laugh now Barcelona fans, but it’s not time to hit the panic button yet in Madrid.

5. Napoli

giphy2Forget their loss to Man City, because Napoli has meant business this season across the board. My preseason sleeper pick in my Champions League preview has turned out to be a force in Italy, with a 10-1-0 record  and 32 goals scored in only 11 matches and a goal differential of +24 (only City, Barca and PSG have a better GD). Their only blip in the league is a home tie to Inter Milan. Buttttt with that being said, Napoli have only taken 3 points from their first 4 Champions League matches. Their next two Champions League games are must-wins for them, but also should-wins for them (Shakhtar and Feyenoord). If they can secure 6 more points they should be through to the Round of 16 and they will earn their ‘5’ ranking. I don’t see them going anywhere for now.

4. Tottenham

giphy1

Spurs have officially given the new definition to ‘Spursy’. Spurs may have gone 6-2-2 in the league, but both of those losses have come at the hands of Chelsea in Matchweek 2 and Manchester United this past weekend. Between those games they have won 8 matches and tied 2, with the wins coming against teams like Real Madrid, Liverpool, Dortmund and a 3-0 win at Everton. They gave Real Madrid their worst Champions League group stage loss in 9 years on Wednesday and their first defeat in the group stage in 7 years. They’ve virtually locked up a spot in the Champions League last 16, but the London Derby against massive rivals Arsenal looms in mid-November along with a Champions League clash with Dortmund. After those games we’ll know if this team can really be one of the best in the world right now.

3. FC Barcelona

giphy3Folks, Lionel Messi has played 10 league games this season and has scored 12 goals and has provided 3 assists. He’s also hit the post 10 times… let that sink in. Barca sit at the top of La Liga right now with a 9-1-0 record, scoring 28 goals and only letting in 3 in 10 matches. They are one of only 3 teams who have yet to lose a game in any competition this season. The only reason why they aren’t any higher is because of the tie this week in Athens against Olympiakos; it may be unfair but if you want to be 1 or 2 on this list you can’t have a slip in a big game like that.

2. Manchester City

giphy4For people who know me, they know how badly I wanted to put this team at #1. City boast a 9-1-0 record in the Premier League and a 13-1-0 record overall, broke a 120-year-old record for most goals to start a season, and they have the highest goal differential in the world (+29, 35-6). Kevin de Bruyne is playing like one of the best players in the world right now and it doesn’t hurt to have Leroy Sane, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Rahim Sterling and Sergio Aguero right there next to you. If they can keep this run up and keep their form in the Premier League, they may just crack the top spot before we know it.

1. Paris Saint Germain

giphy5PSG have gone 9-2-0 in League 1 and 4-0-0 in Champions League play this season. With a goal differential of +26, 34-8 in the French League and +17, 17-0 in the Champions League they’ve proved their front three is the best in the world Neymar (11 goals, 8 assists), Mbappe (4 goals, 5 assists) and Cavani (15 goals, 2 assists). They’ve had convincing wins against Monaco, Celtic, Bayern, Nice and Anderlecht (twice) and don’t show signs of slowing down. Their weaker schedule, for now, could cost them the top spot with City nipping at their heels in the power rakings. It will be interesting to see how these top 5 shuffle around throughout the year.

Champions League Matchweek 4 pt. 2

Champions League Matchweek 4 pt. 2

Tuesday’s Record: 5-5
All-Time Record: 87-14-85

I tried warning you that soccer literally doesn’t stop for 9 months. The non-stop footy action continues tomorrow with several must-win matches for some high profile clubs and two amazing matches in Napoli/City and Real Madrid/Tottenham. Let’s kick it…

Group E:
Spartak Moscow @ Sevilla (-1)… big revenge game for Sevilla, and close to a must-win as it can get for the Spanish side.

Maribor @ Liverpool (-3)

Group F:

Manchester City @ Napoli 3:45 ET

City, arguably the best team in Europe right now, travel to Italy to take on another red-hot team in Napoli in what may shape up to be one of the games of the month. City come in 3-0 in group play while Napoli have shockingly gone 1-0-2 with losses at City and at Shakhtar, but now are at home. With two high-powered offenses, it’s hard to tell which side will come on top. Part of me wants to pick Napoli because they’re home and the Stadio San Paolo is a very tough place to play, but City seem virtually unstoppable. Luckily with the odds being at a PICK, it makes things a little easier for me. I’m going to go with the team who haven’t lost all season and have won each of their last 13 matches. CMON YOU CITY!! Manchester City (Pick -120).

Feyenoord @ Shakhtar Donetsk (-1½)

Group G:
(1:00 start time) Monaco (+½) @ Besiktas… Besiktas have been unbelievable and one of the surprises of the competition, but I can’t not take a Monaco team in a must-win position with the points. Win or draw and Monaco hits.

RB Leipzig (+½) @ FC Porto

Group H:

Real Madrid @ Tottenham 3:45 ET

Holy moly this is one tasty fixture. Can Tottenham continue to play well against European powers? Can Real Madrid, just last year looking like the team of a generation, finally figure out why they have slipped in La Liga and avenge their home draw to Tottenham just a few weeks ago? It seems as if Tottenham has finally lifted it’s Wembley curse (yes I know they lost to West Ham in the Carabao cup but who gives a shit about that competition… for sure not Pochettino!) and they’ve played well in their last 3 competitive matches against Real, Liverpool and Manchester United. Prior to their loss this past weekend to Man U where they played tremendously well in Manchester, Spurs’ last loss came in August against Chelsea. Real Madrid meanwhile have had unconvincing matches as of late and sit 8 points behind rivals Barcelona in La Liga. Giving Tottenham home points is a risky move and I love them to either get the draw or… dare I say it… the win at home to Los Blancos (even though Spurs will be wearing all white… lol). Tottenham +½.

APOEL Nicosia @ Borussia Dortmund (-2½)… I mean, Dortmund can’t possibly blow this one too right? Dortmund sit 6 points back behind Real Madrid and Tottenham and are in must-win territory. They should take it to the Cyprus side and get revenge.

That’s all for this batch of picks.. which I feel pretty confident about. Either way if I do well or not there are some awesome games and storylines set to shape up, so we all win.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.
Twitter: @nicodegallo

 

Champions League Matchweek 4

Champions League Matchweek 4

Heyyyoooo sup bitches. Had a really tough weekend going 6-9 (nice) and decided to add picks on Monday morning to try to salvage my batch of picks and ended up going 3-1 today to save my weekend. So here’s where I stand:

This Weekend: 9-10, 1-1
Total Record: 82-14-80, 14-15

Somehow, someway my all-time record stays positive (still yet to have a negative total record in 176 picks #WeirdBrag).

Quick Hits: Spurs travelled to Manchester United in a big Saturday morning clash but failed to secure the points after playing United well for a solid 80 minutes until the Red Devils finally broke through. Man City dominated West Brom, going up 3-1 only to screw my -1.5 with a late 92nd-minute goal from the home team. Watford’s fell 1-0 at home to Stoke. Liverpool taught newbies Huddersfield what it’s like to play at Anfield in the Premier League with a 3-0 victory. After a slow start, Arsenal climbed back from down 1-0 early to claim the 3 points with a 2-1 victory against the Swans. Chelsea got 3 crucial away points at Bournemouth to bring them back into contention. Crystal Palace needed a 97th-minute goal to take a point from West Ham at home (Bilic hot seat??). Brighton and Southampton tied 1-1 in a snoozefest. Leicester and Everton faced each other in the battle of the new managers, with Leicester stealing 3 points with a 2-0 W. Burnley continues their impressive run with a 1-0 victory against Newcastle on Monday.

Whew. Okay that was a lot. An awesome weekend slate leads us right into another great set of matches in the Champions League. We’re now entering must-win territory for teams like Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Napoli, Porto, Monaco and especially Dortmund. Is it time to hit the panic button in Dortmund? Yes. It’s absolutely time to SMASH the panic button in Dortmund.

Time to get the gameface back on and start trending in the right direction. Let’s get right into the picks for Tuesday:

giphy8Picks! Picks! Picks! Picks! Picks!

(Since Europeans are weird AF, they had daylight savings this past weekend so games will start at 3:45 ET instead of 2:45. So to all 15 people who read this blog and the 3 people who actually watch soccer be mindful.)

GROUP A:
CSKA Moscow @ Basel (-130)
Benfica @ Manchester United (-1½)

Group B:
Anderlecht (+3½) @ PSG
Bayern Munich @ Celtic (+1½)

Group C:

Chelsea @ Roma 3:45 ET

The Premier League Champions, otherwise known as Ellis Schaefer’s Chelsea, travel to Rome to take on a Roma team whose only losses this season have come against Napoli and Inter in the league and have only lost 1 of their last 12 matches. Chelsea are good don’t get me wrong, but this is a tough trip to Rome and their depth has had issues all year. With Morata just joining the lineup, Kante unsure to play, and a short week for this thin Chelsea squad it doesn’t look good. I like Roma (Pick -110). This will be one of the better games of the week.

Qarabag @ Atletico Madrid (-2)

Group D:
FC Barcelona @ Olympiakos (+2)
Juventus (-110) @ Sporting Lisbon

BONUS MLS 

NYCFC @ Columbus Crew (+105), Under 3

I hate not taking Barca and Bayern but there are rumours Messi may not play which is a rarity for him and Bayern have a bad case of the injury bug travelling to Celtic which is a very tough place to play. Hope everyone enjoys the games! I’ll be back tomorrow to give my Quick Hits and picks for Wednesday.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.
Twitter: @nicodegallo

Matchweek 10 Picks

Matchweek 10 Picks

I’m starting to find myself back on track with how I expect my results to go. 4-3-1 this past weekend as I slowly start to get positive numbers again while still keeping without my all-time record being negative. Oh, wait the $$$ train is calling…

giphy5Sup?

I’ll get into my picks shortly but I’ll quickly announce something that the other Preview Blog mentioned. My dude Jordan Kulla (otherwise known as Goob) has joined the staff to talk some footy to the common man which means more blogs, more insight, more personality and more juice to the blog. We’ll have more than picks and previews; with more insightful and news-driven pieces. I’m excited to have him along to make this blog thicc as fucc.

Kulla will handle the preview for the upcoming weekend’s matches (here) and I’ll provide some picks (and a dash of previews). Let’s get into it.

Last Weekend’s Record: 4-1-3
All-Time Record: 73-14-70 (55% Win/Draw Rate)

Friday:
French Ligue 1

Nice (+2½) @ Paris Saint Germain

Saturday:
Premier League

Tottenham @ Manchester United 7:30 am ET

Huge one here early Saturday as the red-hot Spurs head to Manchester to take on Mourinho’s United. This season so far has shown that Mourinho has dialled back against big sides leaving United with lackluster results. Love Tottenham (+½) here.

Manchester City (-1½) @ West Brom
Stoke City @ Watford (-½) – (don’t sleep on Watford)
Huddersfield (+2) @ Liverpool
Chelsea (-165) @ Bournemouth

Other Sat. Picks
Borussia Dortmund (-1) @ Hannover 96
RB Leipzig (+1½) @ Bayern Munich
Juventus (-½) @ AC Milan
Bologna @ Roma (-1½)
Barcelona (-1)
@ Athletic Bilbao
Valencia @ Atletico Madrid (-1)

Sunday:
Premier League

Southampton @ Brighton & Hove Albion (+½)
Everton @ Leicester City (-½)

Other Picks:
Celta Vigo @ Malaga (+½)

Monday:

Newcastle United (Pick -135)
Hellas Verona (+1½)
Deportivo La Coruna (Pick +130)
Espanyol (Pick -120)

Parlays:

Real Madrid (-450), Man City (-425), Arsenal (-475) = (-120)
PSG (-600), Lyon (-475), Liverpool (-475), Roma (-375) = (+120)

You may be asking yourself, “Nico why did you take so many picks one week after saying you’re going to start taking fewer picks?” Well children, when you’re hot, you’re hot and I feel on fire. Like Michael Scott post-Sandals, Jamaica.

giphy6

Pumped for this weekend for these AWESOME games including Man U – Tottenham, Juve – Milan and Leipzig – Bayern. Hope you can enjoy soaking in these games in the morning before college football and the NFL starts. Trust me, it’ll ease you into the day.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.
Twitter: @nicodegallo

Linke to Weekend’s Preview: HERE

Matchweek 10 Preview

Whaaaaat is up ladies and gents. You’re probably asking yourself who the fuck is this kid and where’s Nico’s betting predictions for this weekend’s matches?! Don’t worry, those are coming soon for all you betting degenerates, but in the meantime, let me introduce myself. My names Jordan Kulla, but my friends call me the Goob. I’m a die-hard Arsenal fan (tuff) from South Florida, and a somewhat avid supporter of the USMNT, when they aren’t sucking complete ass. On the weekends you can catch me watching pretty much any premier league match televised or most of the other top 5 European leagues. Normally I’d go on to say how I also love watching the Champions League, but Arsenal’s absence in it this year has me feeling some type of way. Nonetheless, soccer is my life and my passion and following it has consumed a large part of my life.

Now that I got that out of the way, let’s dive face-first into Premier League’s Matchweek 10 and what games you should be watching this weekend.

Manchester United – Tottenham

This is certainly the marquee matchup of the week, with both teams looking to mount further pressure on Manchester City at the top of the table. Both teams are kind of trending in opposite directions with Spurs clobbering of Liverpool last week, and United’s shock defeat to Huddersfield. It really pains me to say this, considering I absolutely and literally HATE Tottenh**, and somewhat hate United, but I think one of these two teams has a serious chance at winning the Premier League this season. I won’t go too into depth as to why I believe that right now, but perhaps well save that for a whole other article of it’s own. Harry Kane was just recently ruled out for this match which will provide United’s defenders with a great amount of relief, however Pochettino’s men are capable enough to get the job done without their main man. Look for a tense matchup between these two, with United likely to park the bus in the early stages of the match.

Crystal Palace – West Ham

So normally I wouldn’t even spend the time of day writing about these two shite clubs, but the circumstances are interesting leading up to this likely dull match. Let’s be honest, both teams are god-awful this season. Crystal Palace didn’t score a goal all season up until last week when they somehow beat Chelsea, and West Ham are on the verge of what looks like an early departure for Slaven Bilic, who I actually thought did a half-decent job with the squad up until the whole Payet fiasco. This game has significant implications for both teams, as Palace are dead last in the table, and the Hammers are even on points with Everton and Stoke in the relegation zone. With so many other matches to watch at the 10am slot, I’d never recommend you watch this shit show, but if you find yourself switching channels, don’t be surprised to see the goals fly in this one.

West Brom – Manchester City

This should be another embarrassing routing of a team at home for the Citizens, as their front three just simply cannot be stopped at the moment. Look for a blowout in this one.

Liverpool – Huddersfield

Huddersfield are flying high after their 2-1 victory over league giants United, however they’ll now have to face perhaps an even tougher test in Liverpool @ Anfield. Liverpool stud Coutinho has been ruled out of the match due to injury, so that will give Huddersfield all the more reason to believe they can at least take away a point from this match. Steve Mounie will be looking to continue his decent goal scoring record this year and look to take advantage of Liverpool’s shambolic defense.

Watford – Stoke City

This is an interesting match you could say. Watford are perhaps the story of the season thus far, sitting in 6th on the table, 1 point behind my Gooners, whereas Stoke, are doing Stoke things, sitting dead even on points with West Ham and Everton in the relegation zone. All props to Marco Silva, who’s seemed to really get his squad playing some solid football at the moment. Despite their negative goal differential, I think Watford will get the job done against a rather lackadaisical Stoke.

Arsenal – Swansea City

With these previews I try to be extremely unbiased, especially when I’m covering my own squad, so I’ll do the same here. Arsenal’s looking to continue building upon their rollercoaster form with a win against Swansea. Last week Arsenal laid the beat down on Everton, which basically led to the sacking of Ronald Koeman (get fucked). On the other end, Swansea are even on points with 3 other teams in the relegation zone, so they’ll be looking to at least secure a draw at the Emirates. Given the recent excitement over Eddie Nketiah’s insane debut as well as the Everton beat down, I like Arsenal in this one.

Bournemouth – Chelsea

Although the Cherries are home in this one, their lack of creation leading up to goals is seriously affecting them, maybe they miss Jack Wilshere???? Maybe. The Blues should easily get the job done at Dean Court.

Brighton – Southampton

This is an interesting matchup between two middle-of-the pack squads. Brighton have enjoyed strong success in their first ever season in the Premier League and will look to continue their strong form against the Saints. These two teams couldn’t be more similar in style of play, so look for a tense matchup.

Leicester City – Everton

Normally this should be a match that I look forward to writing about, but these two teams have not nearly performed to their full potential. Everton have just sacked Ronald Koeman and seem to not care at all about the rest of their season at this point. Every time they step onto the pitch it seems as if it’s a guaranteed loss. Idrissa Gueye will serve a one-match ban for his red card last week against Arsenal, so Leicester will look to exploit the Toffees down the middle of the pitch. 

Burnley – Newcastle

Again, we have another interesting matchup between two teams who have certainly surpassed most likely their own expectations and other’s as well. Newcastle have rebounded quite well from their promotion to the Prem, and Burnley have been the consistent solid force that we’ve seen the past few years. Both teams are boasting some top-class defensive efforts thus far, and continue to expect this. I’m liking a low-scoring draw in this one.

Follow ya boy on Twitter if you wanna see me go viral: @j_kulla
Link to Weekend’s PicksHERE